Sea salvaged. 25.75 grams. A rare plugged cob from the wreck of the HMS Feversham, struck in Lima, Peru ca. 1650s-60s, regulated in Massachusetts ca. 1680-1700, circulated in New York City then lost aboard the Feversham in 1711. According to a note that accompanies this piece, written by former owner Edward Roehrs, just 22 plugged pieces were found. Most of these were 8 reales cobs of Mexico, a handful were from Peru, and a small number of 4 reales were also recovered. A plugged 4 reales brought $3,760 in an October 2010 Sedwick sale. This piece is broad and attractive, better detailed and showing better eye appeal that most Feversham salvaged pieces. The surfaces are light silver, granular but not badly corroded, with a Pac-Man like planchet split at 3 o'clock. Despite its submersion, the weight remains nearly full. A partial puncture at the base of the reverse offers insight into the regulation process, as this wedge-shaped divot is undoubtedly a mistaken first placement of the plug, which was instead located atop the reverse cross in its usual position. The plug is oval and low-relief on both sides, nicely formed and finished.
After the closure of the Boston Mint in 1682, the Massachusetts General Court passed several provisions on the required weight of 8 reales. Crosby notes (p. 80) the law passed in 1672 requiring that “all peeces of eight that are full weight & good silver … of mexico, sevil[le] & pillar [i.e. Lima's pillars and waves] … have a stamp affixt upon them, which shall be NE, to evidence that that are of right alloy and due weight.” None of these seem to have survived. This piece appears to date from circa 1701, when a regulation law (cf. Crosby, p. 80) was passed that rated 17 pennyweight 8 reales at seven shillings. This piece, after submersion, weighs a little over 16 ½ pennyweights. We have no idea who regulated the pieces on the Feversham -- a government sponsored silversmith, individual merchants, or a combination of the two. But the small numbers of them that survive are important links to an era when specie coins circulated by weight, plucked from New York pocket change with a proveable modern provenance.
From the Collection of Jim Jones. Earlier from the 1711 wreck of the HMS Feversham; our (Ponterio and Associates') sale of February 1994, lot 1215 (with lot ticket and Ponterio-signed certificate of authenticity); and Dix, Noonan, and Webb's sale of the Edward Roehrs Collection, September 2010, lot 341, with Roehrs' collection ticket. Purchased from John Kraljevich Americana on March 3, 2011.